4 things senior marketers wish they knew when they were noobs
In the beginning of your career, you have to start somewhere—which means you have to get your hands a little dirty with a little thing called experience. While you’re obtaining that experience, making a faux pas or two is par for the course. While no one is perfect, there are a few things newbie marketers can learn from the pros. Speaking with Applicant Pro’s Director of Marketing, Heidi Barnett, and Director of Marketing at Flexjobs, Mike Gutman, they share some lessons learned during their time in the marketing trenches.
It’s no secret that speaking to leadership as a newbie can be incredibly intimidating. This is especially true if you have an eccentric boss. “During the earlier part of my career, I had a visionary boss who liked to toss out ideas frequently,” shared Barnett. “This meant that a lot of ideas he’d throw out were ones he’d end up forgetting, which made it challenging to present projects he couldn’t actually remember assigning.”
In situations like these, don’t be afraid to speak up. “After a while, I would check in with him as our team meetings were wrapping up. I’d verify the projects he wanted me to work on. It was helpful because I knew what he was looking for, without having to spin in circles.”
The ambition gene is real for natural-born marketers. From pitching to landing the account and delivering the goods, talented marketers thrive on success and aim to repeat it. That said, at the start of the gate, it’s important to gradually expand as you gain expertise, otherwise you can end up biting off more than you can chew.
“In the beginning of my career, my primary role was focused on search engine and affiliate marketing,” explains Gutman. “Because I was able to scale our spending while keeping cost per acquisition low, the budgets I managed were gradually increasing to over 6 figures a month by the time I was 27. My mistake was when I decided I wanted to spread my wings and get more exposure to different products and services. What I quickly learned is that I could not replicate my success with each new client assigned to me.”
Instead of taking on the whole world, new marketers should take the time to learn the ins and outs of their clients. “I had to learn from scratch who their customers were, all the pitfalls of speaking to their customers and what motivated them to engage and buy products”
Hold to your convictions
Being in a new role, it can feel challenging to put your two cents into the workplace—especially if it’s a budgetary matter. As a newbie, you don’t want to overstep your boundaries or look inept in front of leaders. Thing is, sometimes it’s important to say something, especially if it can help your organization in the long run.
“During the start of my career, one of my responsibilities was to oversee the new site design for my company,” explained Barnett. “We didn’t have a ton of money and I was hesitant about the budget I put together. When it came down to the design we went with, it worked for the time being, but it was clear that we’d need an update sooner than later. However, had I pushed for the extra budget, we could’ve eaten the cost initially, while saving money in the long run.”
Be careful with shoptalk
Marketers –the rock stars at least—can make for the best of therapists. They know that getting to know their clients is the easiest way to ensure client satisfaction. Further, it’s natural to get chummy with some clients, especially if you work closely with them.
“When starting out, I had gotten to know some of my clients on a conversational level,” Gutman recounted. “Around that time I had made some changes—including stepping away from my role. My team knew about the transition and everything was above board. I had mentioned to one of my clients about my departure and my plans for the future. They in turn used that information to leverage a discount from my employer. My employer wasn’t too pleased, and I felt betrayed by my client. Ultimately, I learned a valuable lesson on what to share with clients. Though it wasn’t a great experience, I didn’t allow it to impact my relationship with subsequent clients.”
Mistakes and failure happen whenever innovation is in the air, so never be afraid of taking risks. That said, a little extra prep on blunders from veteran marketers never hurt anyone either. Be sure to keep these sage pieces of advice close so that you can put your best foot forward in your role.